Benjamin List: Breaking the Wall to Organocatalysis – Falling Walls Science Summit 2023

Traditional methods of chemical synthesis are laden with hazardous chemicals and heavy metal catalysts, the disposal of which has led to environmental pollution in both land and air, while producing copious amounts of chemical waste. These inefficient methods of chemical synthesis have caused not only health and safety concerns for workers within the industry but also limited access to healthcare for essential medications due to the cost and complexity of the outdated process. Benjamin List, a German chemist who earned his degree in chemistry from the Free University of Berlin in 1993 and subsequently a doctorate from the Goethe University of Frankfurt in 1997, is changing the game in organocatalysis with his groundbreaking work, leading to his co-awarding of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

At Falling Walls, List will dive into his success in developing a third catalysis—the asymmetric organocatalysis—carbon-based compounds that don’t require metals or metal complexes to facilitate chemical reactions, thus promoting environmental and pharmaceutical benefits.

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